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Posts for: February, 2017

By W. Timothy Brooks DMD, PC
February 23, 2017
Category: Oral Health
GameSetMatchMilosRaonicSaysAMouthguardHelpsHimWin

When you’re among the top players in your field, you need every advantage to help you stay competitive: Not just the best equipment, but anything else that relieves pain and stress, and allows you to play better. For top-seeded Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic, that extra help came in a somewhat unexpected form: a custom made mouthguard that he wears on the court and off. “[It helps] to not grind my teeth while I play,” said the 25-year-old up-and-coming ace. “It just causes stress and headaches sometimes.”

Mouthguards are often worn by athletes engaged in sports that carry the risk of dental injury — such as basketball, football, hockey, and some two dozen others; wearing one is a great way to keep your teeth from being seriously injured. But Raonic’s mouthguard isn’t primarily for safety; it’s actually designed to help him solve the problem of teeth grinding, or bruxism. This habitual behavior causes him to unconsciously tense up his jaw, potentially leading to problems with muscles and teeth.

Bruxism is a common issue that’s often caused or aggravated by stress. You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to suffer from this condition: Everyday anxieties can have the same effect. The behavior is often worsened when you consume stimulating substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and other drugs.

While bruxism affects thousands of people, some don’t even suspect they have it. That’s because it may occur at any time — even while you’re asleep! The powerful jaw muscles that clench and grind teeth together can wear down tooth enamel, and damage both natural teeth and dental work. They can even cause loose teeth! What’s more, a clenching and grinding habit can result in pain, headaches and muscle soreness… which can really put you off your game.

There are several ways to relieve the problem of bruxism. Stress reduction is one approach that works in some cases. When it’s not enough, a custom made occlusal guard (also called a night guard or mouthguard) provided by our office can make a big difference. “When I don’t sleep with it for a night,” Raonic said “I can feel my jaw muscles just tense up the next day. I don’t sense myself grinding but I can sort of feel that difference the next day.”

 An occlusal guard is made from an exact model of your own mouth. It helps to keep your teeth in better alignment and prevent them from coming into contact, so they can’t damage each other. It also protects your jaw joints from being stressed by excessive force. Plus, it’s secure and comfortable to wear. “I wear it all the time other than when I’m eating, so I got used to it pretty quickly,” said Raonic.

Teeth grinding can be a big problem — whether you put on your game face on the court… or at home. If you would like more information about bruxism, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Stress & Tooth Habits” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”


By W. Timothy Brooks DMD, PC
February 21, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

Approximately 15 million root canals are performed every year according to the American Association of Endodontists. The purpose of a root canalroot canal is to give an infected tooth a second chance. Here are a few signs that you may need a root canal, an effective and common treatment that's available at Dr. W. Timothy Brooks' Huntsville, AL, family dentistry office.

Intense Pain in Tooth or Jaw
Dental pain can range from a mild sensitivity to an intense, throbbing pain that doesn’t go away. If a patient is experiencing any sensation of pain that disrupts eating, talking or sleeping, that could be a sign of a growing infection (tooth decay). Infected tissue can be removed with root canal therapy. When the pain feels like it’s coming from the jaw, there may be an abscess, which can also be remedied with a root canal.

Persistent Bad Breath and Sour Taste in the Mouth
Bad breath is often a symptom of a lack of regular brushing or flossing. Morning breath is common and normal after eight hours of sleeping. But if the unpleasant smell persists even after daily maintenance, the problem could be a sour smell coming from an infected tooth. If you have very bad breath that doesn't go away or a constant sour taste in your mouth, have your teeth inspected at Dr. Brooks' Huntsville family dentistry office immediately.

Unexplained Pimples, Sores, Growths or Swelling
One other possible sign of a tooth infection is the formation of sores or pimples on the gums. Sometimes called gum boils, these growths can become red, inflamed and painful. In some cases, people who have wisdom tooth infections will have swollen lymph glands in the jaw.

Call to Schedule a Root Canal Procedure
The sooner the tooth is treated the better the chance of long-term success. Call (256) 883-8008 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Brooks.


By W. Timothy Brooks DMD, PC
February 08, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
WatchOutforRe-InfectionAfteraRootCanalTreatment

So, you've undergone a root canal treatment to save a decayed tooth. The tooth has a new lease on life — and the pain is gone too. But there's a reality you need to keep in mind — your tooth could become re-infected, putting you back in the same painful circumstance.

Root canal treatments are often necessary when decay works its way deep within a tooth, into the pulp. The excruciating pain a person feels is the infection attacking the bundle of nerves within the pulp tissue. If the infection isn't addressed promptly, it will continue to work its way to the root, eventually damaging the tooth beyond repair.

During a root canal treatment, we drill into the tooth to access the pulp chamber. After clearing it completely of its infected tissue, we then fill the chamber and root canals with a special filling and then seal off the access. A short time later we'll bond a crown over the tooth to protect it and to make it more attractive.

Most of the time, this preserves the tooth for many years. Occasionally, though, re-infection can occur. There are a number of reasons why: the first infection may have been more extensive than thought; the root canal network was more complex and some tinier canals weren't able to be identified; or the protective crown may once again get tooth decay contaminating the root canal.

If infection does reoccur it doesn't mean the tooth is lost. It's possible a second root canal treatment can successfully correct any problems, especially those that may not have been detected the first time. More complex cases might also require the services of an endodontist, a specialist in root canals. They're skilled in advanced techniques and have specialized equipment to handle even the most complicated root canal networks.

In the meantime, if you notice signs of re-infection like pain or swelling around a treated tooth, contact us promptly for an appointment. You should also contact us if the tooth is injured in an accident. The sooner we can treat your tooth, the more likely the second time will be more successful.

If you would like more information on preserving a tooth through root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment: How long will it Last?




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W. Timothy Brooks DMD, PC

Huntsville, AL Dentist
W. Timothy Brooks DMD, PC
500 Whitesport Drive SW, Suite 3
Huntsville, AL 35801
(256) 883-8008
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